Rockaway! 2018: Narcissus Garden by Yayoi Kusama




Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden, T9 building. Site of Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden for Rockaway! 2018. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Pablo Enriquez. Image courtesy MoMA.

MoMA PS1 presents a site-specific installation by Yayoi Kusama entitled ‘Narcissus Garden,‘ as the third iteration of Rockaway!, a free public art festival with Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Bloomberg  Philanthropies.

Narcissus Garden, 1966. Image via

The exhibition is comprised of 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres on view in a former train garage from the time when Fort Tilden was an active U.S. military base. The mirrored metal surfaces will reflect the industrial surroundings of the now abandoned building, drawing attention to Fort Tilden’s history as well as the devastating damage inflicted on many buildings in the area by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Yayoi Kusama with Narcissus Garden (1966) installed in Venice Biennale, Italy, 1966 ©YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London/Venice. Image courtesy MoMA. Image courtesy MoMA

To bring some history to this exhibition, Narcissus Garden was first presented in 1966 when Kusama staged an unofficial installation and performance at the 33rd Venice Biennale. The silver spheres, originally made from plastic, were installed on the lawn of the Italian Pavilion, reflecting the landscape of the exhibition grounds, with Kusama standing among them, barefoot and dressed in a gold kimono, alongside yard signs inscribed with the words “Narcissus Garden, Kusama” and “Your Narcissism for Sale.”  She remained standing in the installation throughout the day, tossing spheres in the air and offering to sell them to visitors for $2 each (1200 lire).

Installation view, Infinity Mirror Room–Phalli’s Field (or Floor Show), (no longer extant) Castellane Gallery,
New York. 1965. (photo ©Eiko Hosoe)

Above is a photo of Kusama in 1965, when she mounted her first mirror installation entitled ‘Infinity Mirror Room-Phalli’s Field’ at Castellane Gallery in New York. This was a mirrored room without a ceiling, filled with colorfully dotted, phallus-like stuffed objects on the floor.

The performances that followed the Venice Biennale’s Narcissus Garden became increasingly more elaborate, with performances in New York City parks and landmarks.

Inhotim installation, Yayoi Kusama, Narcissus Garden, original installation and performance 1966, mirror balls(photo: emc, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). Image via khan

The installation Narcissus Garden will be accompanied by an exhibition in the neighboring Rockaway Artists Alliance sTudio 7 Gallery that charts the history of Rockaway! and the ongoing work of the Rockaway Artists Alliance.

Yayoi Kusama, Narcissus Garden will be on view from July 1 through September 3, 2018 at the Gateway National Recreational Area at Fort Tilden.

The installation is part of Summer with MoMA


Want to see more work by Yoyoi Kusama?  Check out ‘Pumpkin‘, a permanent installation by Yoyoi Kusama at the entrance to the luxury rental building, Sky, located at 605 West 42nd Street. This giant bronze sculpture measures eight-feet on all sides and weighs 2,668 pounds.

Pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama at Sky on 42nd Street

Sky, a new luxury rental building located at 605 West 42nd Street will unveil a giant bronze pumpkin sculpture as a permanent installation at the entrance to the building. Pumpkin, by the renowned sculpture artist Yayoi Kusama, measures eight feet on all sides, and weighs 2,668 pounds. This is not the first time New Yorkers have seen Kusama’s pumpkins (you may recall the popular Give Me Love exhibition at the David Zwirner gallery) but it is her first permanent public artwork in New York, and will be unveiled on May 3rd.